Swiss voters approve tighter gun laws, lining up with the EU

AP

Print Article

  • Meeting rooms and a poster of the committee against the EU gun laws and policies, prior to the committee's meeting in Burgdorf, Switzerland, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Swiss voters clearly accepted EU's stricter gun control at the national ballot. (Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP)

  • 1

    Meeting rooms and a poster of the committee against the EU gun laws and policies, prior to the committee's meeting in Burgdorf, Switzerland, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Swiss voters clearly accepted EU's stricter gun control at the national ballot. (Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP)

  • 2

    Werner Salzman, front left, Swiss parlamentarian of conservative party SVP and member of the committee against the EU gun laws and policies, speaks at the committee's meeting in Burgdorf, Switzerland, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Swiss voters clearly accepted EU's stricter gun control at the national ballot. (Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP)

  • 3

    Meeting rooms and a poster of the committee against the EU gun laws and policies, prior to the committee's meeting in Burgdorf, Switzerland, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Swiss voters clearly accepted EU's stricter gun control at the national ballot. (Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP)

  • 4

    Werner Salzman, Swiss parlamentarian of conservative party SVP and member of the committee against the EU gun laws and policies, speaks at the committee's meeting in Burgdorf, Switzerland, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Swiss voters clearly accepted EU's stricter gun control at the national ballot. (Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP)

  • Meeting rooms and a poster of the committee against the EU gun laws and policies, prior to the committee's meeting in Burgdorf, Switzerland, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Swiss voters clearly accepted EU's stricter gun control at the national ballot. (Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP)

  • 1

    Meeting rooms and a poster of the committee against the EU gun laws and policies, prior to the committee's meeting in Burgdorf, Switzerland, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Swiss voters clearly accepted EU's stricter gun control at the national ballot. (Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP)

  • 2

    Werner Salzman, front left, Swiss parlamentarian of conservative party SVP and member of the committee against the EU gun laws and policies, speaks at the committee's meeting in Burgdorf, Switzerland, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Swiss voters clearly accepted EU's stricter gun control at the national ballot. (Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP)

  • 3

    Meeting rooms and a poster of the committee against the EU gun laws and policies, prior to the committee's meeting in Burgdorf, Switzerland, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Swiss voters clearly accepted EU's stricter gun control at the national ballot. (Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP)

  • 4

    Werner Salzman, Swiss parlamentarian of conservative party SVP and member of the committee against the EU gun laws and policies, speaks at the committee's meeting in Burgdorf, Switzerland, Sunday, May 19, 2019. Swiss voters clearly accepted EU's stricter gun control at the national ballot. (Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP)

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss voters on Sunday approved a measure to tighten the Alpine nation's gun laws, bringing the country in line with many of its European partners despite the objections of local gun owners, Swiss media reported, citing official results.

Switzerland's public broadcaster said more than 63% of voters nationwide agreed to align with European Union firearms rules adopted two years ago after deadly attacks in France, Belgium, Germany and Britain.

The vote Sunday was part of Switzerland's regular referendums that give citizens a direct say in policymaking. It had stoked passions in a country with long, proud traditions of gun ownership and sport and target shooting. Switzerland, unlike many other European nations, allows veterans of its obligatory military service for men to take home their service weapons after tours of duty.

The Swiss proposal, among other things, requires regular training on the use of firearms, special waivers to own some semi-automatic weapons and serial number tracking system for key parts of some guns. Gun owners would have to register any weapons not already registered within three years, and keep a registry of their gun collections.

Supporters of the measure, who included the Swiss parliament and executive branch, said similar measures adopted by the EU after deadly extremist attacks are needed to ensure strong police cooperation and economic ties with Switzerland's partners in Europe's Schengen visa-free travel zone. They insisted it will not block law-abiding citizens from obtaining legal guns, but would simply do more to track them.

Switzerland is not an EU member, but it is in the Schengen zone.

Opponents insisted the proposal would violate Switzerland's constitution and do little to fight extremism or crime. They said the weapons used in recent attacks in Europe weren't obtained legally. They argued the proposal cracks down mainly on lawful gun owners in Switzerland and rams through what they see as the latest diktat from Brussels.

Jean-Luc Addor, a populist Swiss People's Party lawmaker from the southwestern Valais region, said adopting the EU directive would be "unjust, freedom-killing, useless, dangerous, and above all, anti-Swiss."

"With no effect on the fight against terrorism, it will only hit honest, law-abiding citizens who possess legal weapons," he wrote on his website. "It's the epitome of injustice."

Switzerland hasn't faced major extremist attacks like those that have hit France, Belgium, Britain and Germany in recent years, leaving scores dead.

Ahead of the vote, most of Switzerland's major political parties — except for the populist Swiss People's Party — favored the measure, with support strongest among Socialists and Greens.

The rift on the issue has fallen along a rural-urban divide, with city dwellers more inclined to back the EU directive.

   

Print Article

Read More World News

Huge crowds march in Hong Kong, piling pressure on leader

AP

June 16, 2019 at 2:58 am | HONG KONG (AP) — Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents, mostly clad in black, jammed the city's streets Sunday in a vehement show of opposition to proposed legislation that has stoked fears of exp...

Comments

Read More

Crew members of targeted Norwegian-owned tanker now in Dubai

AP

June 15, 2019 at 8:23 pm | DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Crew members from a Norwegian-owned oil tanker apparently attacked in the Gulf of Oman landed Saturday in Dubai after two days in Iran as the other tanker targeted ...

Comments

Read More

Notre Dame celebrates 1st Mass since devastating April fire

AP

June 15, 2019 at 11:17 am | PARIS (AP) — The archbishop wore a hard-hat helmet, burnt wood debris was still visible and only about 30 people were let inside, but Notre Dame Cathedral on Saturday held its first Mass since the de...

Comments

Read More

Diplomats: Europeans weigh sanctions on Venezuela's Maduro

AP

June 15, 2019 at 11:06 am | BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Major European nations are considering imposing sanctions on Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro and several top officials for their recent crackdown on political opponents, although d...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 263-9534
PO Box 159
Sandpoint, ID 83864

©2019 Bonner County Daily Bee Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X